Before Netflix recommended their original movie ‘Bleach’ to me, I had never heard of the Japanese anime series by the same name. The anime version was based on Tite Kubo’s manga also bearing the same title. When I watched the trailer, I saw what was obviously a live-action rendition of anime, complete with schoolgirl uniforms, crazy bleached hair, and the hero carrying a ridiculously huge sword. Yet, there was something about the trailer that intrigued me, so I went for it and gave the movie a chance.
The premise of the show is that the world is full of the spirits of dead people who haven’t moved on. The more malevolent of these, called “Hollows,” will prey on other Hallows and consume them, making themselves stronger. As the Hollows grow stronger, they begin to seek out living people with strong “spiritual pressure”, with the goal being of eating their living souls and becoming even stronger.
The story begins with the protagonist, Ichigo Kurosaki (played by Sota Fukushi) whom we immediately learn has the unique ability to see and interact with the spirits and attempts to help them move on to “The Soul Society” when he can. He lives with his family in Karakura Town.
One day, while eating dinner with his family, a huge Hollow attacks them and kidnaps one of his sisters. As Ichigo chases after them, he encounters Rukia Kuchiki (played by Hana Sugisaki), who introduces herself as a Soul Reaper and notes that Ichigo has a remarkably strong spiritual pressure. Hijinks ensue as they do in all anime stories, and ultimately, Ichigo finds himself possessing all of Rukia’s Soul Reaper powers, a humongous sword, and absolutely no clue about how to use all his newfound skills.
As expected with any anime, the story is rather cheesy with physics-defying battles. While one might expect this to result in an awful movie, I was actually amused enough by the film to confess now that I did enjoy it. The acting was just good enough to draw you in and make you care a bit about the characters. The special effects were also quite good. I was particularly impressed with the set of the finale battle. It was huge, complex, and riddled with great stunts and effects. It won’t win any Oscars, but it was a fun romp.
My recommendation: You should check it out!